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Being driven by a planner in an electric car out to a modernised  sewage works and a converted cotton mill that housed creative businesses showed me how much East German cities have changed since the Berlin Wall came down two decades ago. At the time Leipzig, Germany’s fourth largest city, lost 90% of its manufacturing jobs and 100,000 residents. The secret of its renaissance I discovered was an economic growth strategy that focussed resources on five clusters. The City won BMW’s new car plant by providing the site, and building a new motorway round the South of the City. Agreed in 2001, both opened five years later.

My guides round Leipzig gave me a mass of material, all in English, that showed how strategic planning can be made to work The key is not just a decentralised political system, or German concern for quality, but a stress on working together across sectors to apply technical knowhow.

C. 19th housing has been refurbished using tax incentives

C. 19th housing has been refurbished using tax incentives

Creative businesses have colonized the old spinning mill

Creative businesses have colonized the old spinning mill

Transport is fully integrated

Transport is fully integrated

A modern university occupies part of the historic centre

A modern university occupies part of the historic centre

The sewage works has been upgraded

The sewage works has been upgraded

The station includes shops

The station includes shops

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2 thoughts on “Postcard from Leipzig

    • Emma,

      You are right, the top picture is indeed the historic city of Erfurt (where i visited on the same trip), as is the picture of the suburban train. I will refine this post slightly. But good to know you liked the pictures, and I have some great pics of Leipzig station, the largest terminus apparently in Europe, where the line through is currently being extended under the city.

      Nick

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